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New QOCS Rules Come into Force this Week

Articles, News | Tue 4th Apr, 2023

Shortly before Christmas, I wrote an article drawing attention to imminent significant changes to the QOCS regime. It generated a surprising amount of interest (for an article on costs) and several people were kind enough to contact me to say they had found it helpful.

At the time of my article the changes had been discussed and approved by the Civil Procedure Rules Committee (CPRC) but not officially announced. They were duly implemented in February by the Civil Procedure (Amendment) Rules 2023. Rule 24 thereof makes changes in line with what had been approved by the CPRC. I refer to my earlier article for the details of those changes.

Rule 1(3) states that the amendments made by rule 24 apply only to claims where proceedings are issued on of after 6 April 2023. The changes are therefore not retrospective and cases which have already been settled or issued fall to be treated under the old regime.

The period between the changes being officially announced and them coming into force is short (about two months). The old regime was significantly more generous to claimants, and no doubt many litigators and their clients will have had to make a fairly rapid reappraisal of whether there are in a position to issue proceedings before the 6 April. There is certainly a general expectation that there will be a rush to get claims issued before the deadline. In the fullness of time there may well be arguments as to whether claims have been issued prematurely, especially in cases where the pre-action protocol(s) have not yet been completed. I suspect in many cases the view will have been taken that it is better to issue forthwith, notwithstanding any concerns about protocols, and to take such consequences as eventuate as the price of guaranteeing that the claim will be dealt with under the old regime. I also suspect that the new rules will generate further litigation as to exactly how they will operate in practice. My original article identified some potential problems, and I hope to write a follow-up which looks at these in more detail. For now the message for potential claimants is: time is nearly up to have your claim governed by the old regime.


The views expressed in this article are not intended to be and should not be taken as legal advice. They are the views of the author alone and not of Deka Chambers.

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